For just the second time in more than a decade, the Rhinelander High School Mock Trial team failed to reach the finals in the state tournament this past weekend in Madison.
In semi-final action at the Dane County Courthouse, the RHS team won matches against Appleton West and Whitefish Bay, but suffered split-decision losses to Brookfield Academy and River Falls, ultimately placing fifth in the tournament.
Defending state champion Appleton Xavier defeated Shorewood in the finals on Monday before the justices of the State Supreme Court to win its third state title in four years. Only Superior (five) and Rhinelander (15) have more state championship titles.
“This year’s team was one of the youngest and least experienced to represent RHS in the state tournament,” said coach Kathy Vick-Martini. There were no seniors on the team, and only three of the nine members had any previous state tournament experience. “Nonetheless, each of our students scored a personal best at the tournament.”
“It wasn’t the result we were hoping for,” said attorney coach Mike Bloom, “but our students should be proud of their performance. Unfortunately, the level of competition continues to improve.”
“Our students are young…and they’re hungry,” added attorney coach Jim Jacobi, “which bodes well for the future.”
Team members include juniors Matt Anderson, Amber Toboyek, Melissa Sheth, Elisha Sheffer, Lauren Sexton and Kayla Cook, and sophomores Lydia O’Brien, Roz Hatlen and Amber Sheth.
By virtue of their state championship win, Appleton Xavier will represent Wisconsin in the National Mock Trial Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M., May 4-5. To date, Rhinelander High School is the only Wisconsin school to win a national title.